If you live in a country that has tremendous Internet censorship, you are missing much of the information that is available. There is a way around this problem today which is the UltraSurf created by UltraReach Internet Corp.
While using the UltraSurf, you will be able to view all websites just like everyone else that uses the regular Internet Explorer browser. While you are browsing, UltraReach is continually searching for the highest speed proxy servers without you even realizing the work it is doing behind the scenes.
What is Ultrasurf?
The UltraSurf is a proxy application that connects to proxy servers and hides your public IP address. Along with this, you will not have any annoying ads or annoying pop-ups.
Now, that you know what the UltraSurf is you are probably wondering what it means. As an Internet user, Ultrasurf allows you to have online freedom, bypass Internet censorship, and get your hands on the information available online (including the one that is geo-restricted).
No matter if you are at work or school you will be able to bypass the firewalls that are put there to ensure you do not visit websites your company or school does not want you to view. You may not realize this, but many companies and universities block access to various social sites, thus stopping your freedom. With this tool, you will be able to browse all the social websites such as Facebook, Youtube, Myspace, Orkut, Hi5, and Linkedin to name a few of the most popular.
How to install Ultrasurf
Here is what you have to do to install Ultrasurf on Windows operating system:
- Download UltraSurf from UltraReach site.
- Save the u.zip file somewhere on your computer.
- Unzip u.zip file
- Run u.exe
- You can switch between 3 proxy gateways to choose the fastest one.
- Go to XMyIP.com and check your new IP.
- When you need to return to your real IP just Exit.
Also, you may install the UltraSurf Chrome extension from here. Thus, you may use Ultrasurf on your Mac or Linux system as well.
How to Configure Firefox to work with Ultrasurf
One of the few downsides of Ultrasurf is that it does not automatically configure Firefox.
If you want to browse using Firefox and being anonymized by Ultrasurf you have 2 options:
- Install the GProxy Firefox add-on.
- Manually configure Firefox to use Ultrasurf servers/proxy.
The Firefox problem
One of the few problems of UltraSurf is that when used it does not automatically change the proxy settings for Firefox. This means that it does not change your IP address when browsing with Firefox. You have to change these settings manually. Not very convenient, isn’t it?
To solve this problem, a Firefox add-on is available for download that does exactly this: changes the proxy settings when using UltraSurf. The plugin lets you enable and disable the tool on the bottom bar of the browser. You still need to have the application running, but at least you don’t have to change the proxy settings every time you want to use/ stop using it.
GProxy Firefox Plugin
Here is what you have to do to make it work:
- Open Firefox.
- Download the GProxy Firefox add-on. that allows the configuration of the Ultrasurf proxy.
- Open the add-on.
- Choose Ultrasurf.
Manual configure Firefox Ultrasurf
The manual configuration is very simple and requires no special tech skills. Here are the steps you have to perform:
- Start Firefox
- Go to Tools -> Options…
- Choose the Network tab and press Settings button
- In the Connection Settings window, check Manual proxy configuration:
- In the same window, fill in the HTTP Proxy and the Port taken with the following values: 127.0.0.1 as HTTP Proxy and 9666 as Port (take a look at the picture above).
- Press Ok and then Ok again.
- Start Ultrasurf (if it is running you see a locker on the bottom-right side of the screen).
- Go to XMyIP.com and check your IP address. It should show one of the IP addresses used by Ultrasurf. You can now browse anonymously.
What does this do?
You are probably asking yourself what exactly you just did. The explanation is simple. Ultrasurf works as a proxy for many apps including browsers like Internet Explorer. But, you need to configure Firefox Ultrasurf in order to make the browser use the Ultrasurf proxy. Thus, Firefox will redirect all the Internet traffic through port 9666 used by Ultrasurf on the local machine, 127.0.0.1.
Do not forget to change your Connection Settings from Manual proxy configuration to Direct connection to the internet, after you exit the proxy app. If you don’t, you won’t be able to browse using Firefox as the Internet traffic will continue to be redirected through the local machine proxy.
Ultrasurf Pros & Cons
I have compiled a list of pros and cons in order to compare UltraSurf to other hide IP tools:
- It is free!
- It hides your IP address.
- Very simple and easy to use interface, very suitable for beginners. No user guide needed.
- It includes delete browser history and deletes cookies features.
- It provides fast proxies.
- You may use the Ultrasurf Chrome extension on Windows, Mac, Linux, etc.
- The proxies are from the US only.
- The interface is available only in English.
Will UltraSurf influence my firewall protection?
Here is an interesting question I have received on the Ask Us page.
Q: I want to surf anonymously from my home computer. I live in The Netherlands, so do not have a government firewall to contend with. I just do not want my ISP or the likes of Google to see which sites I visit.
I have Comodo firewall installed.
Can I use UltraSurf (from ultrareach.com), or will it influence my firewall protection against malware negatively?
A: Is hiding my IP address affecting the firewall protection? The answer is simple: NO.
UltraSurf, as other hide IP products, offers proxies that act as an intermediate between you and the site you visit. The firewall is not bypassed in any way by using such software. So you can continue using UltraSurf without worrying about malware.
Q: Can I use Ultrasurf if the port 9666 is locked?
A: Unfortunately, there is no way to run it if port 9666 is blocked. This port is used by Ultrasurf to connect to the Ultrareach servers and re-route your traffic.
As mentioned in the Ultrasurf Faq / Question 11, in the future versions it will be possible to change the port from 9666 to various port numbers overcoming this problem, but this is not possible in the current version (9.4).
How UltraSurf gets blocked
Symantec has published an article explaining how to block UltraSurf using Symantec Endpoint Protection. This is done based on the fingerprints that UltraSurf leaves.
Ultrasurf can be identified when attempting to start or while running using several finger prints. Every version of Ultrasurf has a certain finger print. These are used by Symantec Endpoint Protection (SEP) to block the Ultrasurf process. Below you can see the different fingerprints for the Ultrasurf variants available in the web (as they are listed by Symantec):
1. UltraSurf 9.4 (.exe)
2. UltraSurf 9.4(.zip)
3. UltraSurf 9.2 (.exe)
4. UltraSurf 8.9 (.exe)
5. UltraSurf 8.8 (.exe)
6. Firefox add-on (.zip)
Symantec Endpoint Protection (SEP) can be used to block certain applications. These finger prints are exactly what SEP needs to identify a process and terminate it. For more details on the settings need to block Ultrasurf check the Symantec article.
Is Ultrasurf a trojan?
One of the readers of this article signaled that the tool is seen as a Trojan by McAfee anti-virus. At first, I thought it must be a mistake. Then, after a little bit of research, I start thinking that UltraSurf may be indeed a threat.
Ultrasurf and McAfee
Here is the page from the McAfee database that describes it as a threat:
This means that McAfee sees Ultrasurf as a trojan to your computer and tries to delete it.
More info about why it is seen as virus/trojan/threat I found
here [page not available anymore], on ThreatExpert.com. According to them:
- Produces outbound traffic (on port 443)
- Opens ports in the system (1033 and 1034)
- Downloads/requests other files from the Internet
On Trojaner-Board, a user has tested UltraSurf with several anti-virus tools and it seems that it is also seen as a threat by:
- CAT-QuickHeal 10.00 – (Suspicious) – DNAScan
- F-Secure 8.0.14332.0 – Backdoor.Win32.Agent.uwi
- Kaspersky 188.8.131.52 – Backdoor.Win32.Agent.uwi
- Prevx1 V2 – Malware Downloader
Thus, the app is seen as Generic Backdoor by several anti-virus solutions.
What to do next
You can consider using other hide IP solutions. Here is our list of hiding IP tools.
If you are confident UltraSurf is no threat to your computer and you have McAfee anti-virus installed, you should perform the following steps every time to you what to browse anonymously:
- Stop McAfee
- Download the file
- Start using UltraSurf
- When you are done, delete the file and start McAfee.
Also, there are anti-virus tools that allow you to specify a whitelist. If this is the case for McAfee, you should add UltraSurf file to the whitelist.
Developer denies Ultrasurf is malicious
Rumors regarding Ultrasurf being a malware got stronger and stronger. Now, a developer from the UltraReach team explained the Ultrasurf strange behavior.
Ultrasurf is a proxy tool that is used to hide the IP address and masks where traffic is being sent to and received from. The main goal of Ultrasurf was to keep the Chinese government’s Internet filters from detecting forbidden communication.
Is Ultrasurf malware?
Lately, Ultrasurf was suspected to be a trojan due to its strange behavior and traffic sent to different locations. On Wilders Security Forum, SteveTX, member of XeroBank team, explained in detail what Ultrasurf does and concluded:
UltraSurf and Gtunnel and likely all products put out by the Global Internet Freedom Consortium / Internet Freedom.org are in fact secret trojans. They give you a 1-hop proxy but use your system to launch attacks against financial institutions, government and energy websites, education, etc. Now here is the scary thing, if you are logged into one of these domains, like your bank, then they can get access to your authenticated session/cookie and potentially break right into your account, THROUGH YOUR OWN COMPUTER.
Last month, at the Black Hat security conference, Kyle Williams, security director of XeroBank, said that UltraSurf automatically attempts to make HTTPS encrypted connections to servers unrelated to the UltraSurf proxy network.
“How does it know I got an invalid server if the traffic is really end-to-end encrypted?” Williams says. He also noted these odd behaviors:
- When the client appears to connect to an IP address within a private network, it probes sequentially close IP addresses as well.
- When an UltraSurf client seeks a non-existent URL via HTTPS, it receives a response from an UltraSurf server
- UltraSurf taps a Google Reader RSS feed for updates that Williams interprets as lists of targets for the software to probe.
- Commercial anti-virus software detects UltraSurf as a Trojan.
David Tian, a scientist for NASA who works spare-time on UltraSurf, addressed each behavior, but the main idea was that UltraSurf does an ever-changing variety of strange things in order to fool the Great Firewall of China. The response from UltraSurf servers to attempts to reach non-existent URLs is due to the proxy network sending back a notification. It proxies all the communication including SSL so any response will be from a proxy.
This is done due to the fact that Chinese authorities monitor UltraSurf carefully and try to identify signatures that can be used to set filters, so the software sends out useless traffic to make noise that makes it difficult to characterize the legitimate traffic.
UltraSurf programmers play a cat-and-mouse game with Chinese censors trying to block its traffic, so the team working on it has to continually alter its methods to adapt to each innovation in the Great Firewall, Tian says. “We have a great understanding of the Great Firewall and how to defeat it.”
To sum up, with the UltraSurf you will have freedom like you deserve to enjoy the internet as many others do that are not regulated by their government, schools, and of course their employer. It is time to fight for your freedom and bypass Internet censorship. Learn all you wish to learn that your government may not wish you knew, meet and make friends at social networking sites, and of course, have the freedom to shop until you drop with the best proxy server on the net.